When I went to Kerinci, Province of Jambi, it was night. Too dark. All my driver did was driving away from a forest just for entering another. But after six hours of speedy-thrilling trip, suddenly … a city! Yeah, Kerinci regency is a civilization surrounded by thick forests.
I had had plan to stay here for a week. But just two days I’d been in Kumun village, I received the news. I didn’t enjoy at all the land trip from Minangkabau Airport (Padang) to Kerinci. And now, for a sudden reason, I had to land trip (again) back to Padang city. Oh, it was just perfect.
The travel car moved on at 8 a.m. Still the same travel company, Shafa Marwa. But luckily, it wasn’t the same “F1 pilot”. The driver this time, Mr. Ul, drove more carefully and slowly. He was also my tour guide, after all. From inside the Innova, I enjoyed the scene I couldn’t see at night I had been arriving here.
We stopped by at few tourism objects. Actually, I would visit them one by one in a relax tour. But now I had to briefly visit them at once, in half a day. Thanks to the news.
Our first post was Danau Kerinci, a 5,000 hectares lake that’s located in 783 meters above sea level (masl). I recorded the views here a bit.
Then, we stopped at Semurup Hot Spring, in Semurup village. It’s a bathing place and a hot water pool where the spring is spraying in direct. Evidently the water in the pool is hotter than in the bathing place. From the announce board, I know the water used to be 130ºC, due to earth quake it’s now 80ºC.
However, I wonder why that pool smelled like ravioli. As a fan of this kind of noodle, I salivated immediately. My, my, my, you know where the aroma came from? Look over there; three sacks of corn were immersed. Yes, people used to boil things using this pool. They claim, “An egg is gonna be well-boiled within five minutes.” We’d already proved it with a dozen of duck eggs bought by Mr. Ul near the site.
After Semurup village, we continued to mount Talang and Kerinci. Soared 3,805 masl, the second mountain I mentioned is one of the high mountains in Indonesia. The highest one is Puncak Jaya (4,884 masl) in Papua which. The third is Mount Rinjani in Lombok (3,726 masl), and the fourth is Mount Semeru (3,676 masl) in East Java.
But mount Kerinci is the highest volcano in Indonesia. It’s the most prominent feature of Kerinci Seblat National Park’s terrains, with pine-forested slopes rising 2,400-3,300 meters above the surrounding basin. At the summit there is a deep 600 meters, and 400 x 120 meters wide crater, often partially filled by green-yellow water.
Mount of Kerinci is more active than most Indonesian volcanoes, with nearly annual eruptions. The last erupted was in 2004, and it continues to spew clouds of sulphurous smoke, with plumes reaching as high as 1,000 meters above the summit.
With the car, I only reached tea plantation on its southern slope. But if you’d like to, you can climb it, usually from Kersik Tuo village. You’ll meet many beautiful panoramas with natural wealth of flora and fauna from lowland to highland. Mount of Kerinci is not only good for being appreciated by the nature lovers, but also for doing any research and education as well.
The lowland is dominated by several mahoganies. And there is also a giant Rafflesia arnoldii and Amorphophallus titanum. For the animal, you’ll find tapir (Tapirus indicus), cuscus (Tarsius bancanus), and 140 kinds of bird. The natives of Kerinci told me that inside this jungle, “There are specialty animals of Sumatra too such as elephants, Sumatran rhinos, tigers, honey bears, and panthers.”
But none of orangutans. For primate species, Kerinci forests on the mountain have gibbons, long tail monkeys, and Presbytis melapophos.
Aah, I wished I could explore it by trekking.
On November 2007, the alert for Kerinci was raised to Orange Level because of black smog seen coming out of the crater. Nevertheless, mountaineering the volcano is still relatively safe and allowed. Not as danger as mountaineering on Province of Central Java’s Merapi in the end of 2010, so far. The climb and descent normally takes three days and two nights to the summit. You may also just go up till Camp 2 or 2.5, skipping the summit attempt which is a night climb, it’ll take two days and one night.
My last visit was Danau Kembar (lit. twin lake). Why twin? “Yeah, because it’s two,” answered Mr. Ul, “Danau Atas (Lake of Top) and Danau Bawah (Lake of Bottom).” We just dropped in Lake of Top. Meanwhile, the Lake of Bottom is located above its twin sister. Even Mr. Ul had no idea what did Kerinci folks meant by this up-side down naming.
We just backed to the car.
I counted, teens times Mr. Ul changed his cassettes. Tens times he played Ebiet G. Ade’s ballads and the traditional songs which mostly tell about calamities and live beyond the native land. Finally, at 17 o’clock the Innova arrived to Padang. 🙁 See you, vacation. [photos by Brahm]